Federal member for Page Kevin Hogan has urged the people of the Northern Rivers and Clarence Valley to get behind the Australian Government’s response to Syrian refugee crisis.
He said the decision to welcome 12,000 additional refugees to Australia was the result of genuine concern for the human tragedy and unprecedented displacement of people from Syria.
“Australia needs to step up and offer assistance – the sheer volume of people movements that we are seeing is unprecedented since World War Two. I am sure our local community will welcome the refugees who have been affected by these atrocities and provide them with generous support,” Mr Hogan said.
“While details are still being finalised, the Government’s focus will be on those most desperately in need. This means families, women and children and especially persecuted minorities, who have sought refuge in camps neighbouring Syria and Iraq.
“The Government will be working closely with settlement service and other providers around the country to ensure they are able to continue to provide the full suite of settlement services, including accommodation, language tuition and employment assistance, to this group as they do for others entering under this programme.
“Australia already has a proud tradition of welcoming refugees. On a per capita basis, Australia is among the top resettlement countries in the world. In 2014-15, a total of 13,756 visas were granted under the Humanitarian Programme.
Australia’s humanitarian programme for 2015-16 will now sit at 25,750 places, up from 13,750.
In addition, the Government will provide $44 million in humanitarian assistance for Australia’s aid partners including the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). This package will support 240,000 people.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection has also committed a further $2 million to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for its work with displaced Syrians.
Australia commenced resettlement of Syrians in 2011–12. Since then, over 3300 humanitarian visas have been granted to Syrians.
“This response is one that every Australian can and should be proud of,” Mr Hogan said.